Stress is a well known cause of hair loss. A study conducted in 2003 found that laboratory mice that were subjected to higher than average stress levels suffered greater rates of hair loss than those under normal conditions.
Stress may seem to only effect the way you feel but it can also have a massive impact on your physical health. High levels of stress can cause increased production of the adrenaline hormone, which is designed to help you get through dangerous situations.
The evolution of the stress reflexes
Over millions of years the human body has evolved some sophisticated ways of dealing with problems in life. In potentially dangerous scenarios, for example when hunting a large animal, the adrenal gland produces increased amounts of adrenaline. This helps the body react faster and produce more power in the muscles.
In stressful situations the heart rate increases and breathing increases in order to get more oxygen to the muscles where it is needed. These types of reflexes are remarkable and essential systems that have helped humans survive in the wild.
However, we no longer live in the wild. And society has developed faster than our body’s have evolved. We live in a different world now. Instead of hunting for our food we work and buy our food from shops. However our body’s still have the same systems in place for reacting to stress that have evolved over millions of years.
Now though, we experience the stress, but most of us don’t get the release provided by the extreme exercise that the body anticipated was required from the stressful situation. The result is that the stress levels build up and may remain at a consistently elevated level.
How does stress cause hair loss?
Increased and sustained production of adrenaline in reaction to stress, without release (for example daily work related stress) drains the body of nutrients – particularly B vitamins. The sorts of nutrients that are used up by the body to deal with stress are the same ones that are needed to maintain healthy skin and hair. This is why you can often notice when someone has been through a prolonged period of stress in their life. Their hair will often look lacklustre and their skin might be greasy or slow to heal.
Additionally, stress causes muscles to become tense. Once again this is caused by the feeling that there is a need to protect oneself from imminent danger. Tense muscles shield our vital organs and bones better than loose muscles. This drains energy and can reduce blood flow to the scalp, as the tension is often concentrated in the neck and shoulders, where it can restrict blood vessels.
Good blood circulation in the scalp is essential for hair growth, as new hairs require nutrients carried by the blood. If the blood flow is restricted this can have an impact on hair growth.
What can you do to stop the stress?
You could stop yourself from feeling stressed by avoiding stressful situations, but that is not a good idea. By avoiding stressful situations you might reduce your stress levels in the short term but in the long term you will probably build up an increased fear of stressful situations. It’s far better to train yourself to deal with stress in a relaxed and calm manner.
You can do this by altering your minds thought patterns, so that you react to stressful situations by being calm and confident. You can even train your mind to find stressful situations fun, exciting and something to look forward to. This is a far better way to deal with stress. Instead of avoiding stress you are changing the way your mind deals with stress.
Stop the stress or accept the hair loss
You can try any number of hair loss treatments, but if stress is a major factor in your life, in order to stop the hair loss you need to eliminate the root cause of it – in this case, stress. The great news is, it is possible to train your mind using simple audio programmes that can be played regularly into the ears using an mp3 player or other personal stereo. By training the mind to think positively about stress, over time it’s possible to change the way you deal with stress so that it no-longer causes such a negative reaction in your body.
If you suffer from stress related hair loss, by changing the way you deal with stress, so that you are a relaxed person, you will get one step closer to stopping your hair loss. For some people this is a vital step. You probably know if stress is effecting your appearance, as it is usually very noticeable. It’s important to properly deal with this underlying cause of hair loss in order to properly treat yourself, rather than masking the underlying problem by treatment the outward symptom – using hair loss treatments.
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